We are working with OISC to tackle illegal immigration advice in Eastern European communities

A few months ago, our client, Mr. D. came to our offices to complain about a Polish accountancy business that was supposed to help him apply for the permanent residency document. Mr. D. was very distressed as he told us that he payed a fee, plus the application fee to this company and now they had all his original documents and not replying to any of his messages.

Unfortunately, his case is not unique. Unregistered immigration advisers have long been active in our communities, but since the Brexit referendum we have seen a natural increase in applications and, therefore, in illegal advisers.

In light of things to come, the new settled status and Brexit, we are working in partnership with the Office of the immigration services commissioner (OISC) to tackle illegal immigration advice in our communities. We will help Eastern European nationals make complains to OISC and support them through the process. Moreover, we wil keep an eye on our communitites to hear if people are acting as illegal immigration advisers. 

We have concerns that these practices are going to intensify considerably in the years to come, when all EU citizens will have to apply for documents to be able to stay in the UK after Brexit takes place. This situation will provide many unregistered immigration advisers with the perfect opportunity to take advantage of people.

We have already spotted many individuals and firms advertising their services on social media or through leaflets.

Moreover, in the last few months only, we have been notifyed by our clients of a few of these cases and have successfully supported one client report one of them to OISC.

We know that the language barrier and lack of knowledge of the system are the main barriers preventing people to report unregistered immigration advisers, this is the reason why we offer language and cultural specific support to Eastern European citizens in order to help them seek justice if they have been wronged by an illegal immigration adviser.

Furthermore, people are simply afraid to take their cases further, becuase they fear repercutions from the advisers themselves or the authorities, or do not trust that they will get anywhere by reporting it.

Obviously, reporting illegal immigration advisers is extremley important, it prevents the expansion of the phenomenon and it’s the only way for people to get proper justice, if they have been the victimes of illegal immigration advisers.

We also work with the Home Office regarding the new settled status and have been consulting them on how to make it more accessible to disadvantaged Eastern Europeans.

What is an illegal adviser? Any company or individual that provides immigration advice without being registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) or another Qualifying Regulator such as the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Bar Standards Board or CILEX.

Why is it important that an immigration adviser is registered? If they are not registered with the OISC or another Qualifying Regulator, they might have little or no knowledge of immigration law, and are probably acting illegally. Hiring them might damage your permanent residency/citizenship application and immigration status permanently.

Download and read our leaflet on immigration advice in:

+ English: Unregulated-Immigration-Advice-Leaflet-EN

+ Polish : Unregulated-Immigration-Advice-Leaflet-PL

+ Romanian: Unregulated-Immigration-Advice-Leaflet-RO

+ Bulgarian: Unregulated-Immigration-Advice-Leaflet-BG

If you’d like printed leaflets for your organisation or your clients, please get in touch at voice@eerc.org.uk .

Volunteer Opportunity: We are looking for new volunteers

Are you passionate about workers rights? Do you want to help disadvantaged Eastern Europeans and improve their working conditions?

We are looking for Romanian, Lithuanian and Polish volunteers to help us with a new project.

In January this year we have started a new project, “Organising Migrant Workers”. The focus of this project is to organise Eastern European agency workers from the hotel and general cleaning industries, in order to improve their working conditions.

Moreover, we want to work with agencies to develop and share good practice.

Our extensive work in safeguarding workers rights has proven that there is a large group of Eastern European workers who do not know their rights and where to seek information and advice in case of any problems related to employment. They work long hours (often 6-7 days per week) so they are not able to seek any support in person.

Agency workers in the cleaning industry are especially affected by exploitation and bad working conditions.

This volunteering position is flexible and can be done outside working hours. You would help us with:

+ Outreaching to agency workers

+ Organising events and workshops

+ Research

+ Translating presentations and other materials

We are a small charity, but with a big soul and we couldn’t do it without our amazing volunteers. We provide training and group or individual support. You would work very closely with our staff members who are in charge of this project and you will have the opportunities to participate in different activities and trainings.

If you are interested, please contact volunteering@eerc.org.uk for more information.